COVID Race Cancellation Information

2020 COVID WhistleStop Marathon & Half Marathon Race Cancellation Information

With a heavy heart, I am saddened to say that the 2020 Memorial Medical Center WhistleStop Marathon and Half Marathon will be cancelled this year.  JoAnn and I have been communicating with our runners, volunteers, timing company, and race directors throughout the country for the last 3 months brainstorming ideas that could create a safe environment for our runners and volunteers.  We looked at several options for the race.  Capping the numbers, creating an out-and-back for the half-marathon in order to eliminate bussing for the half, no pasta feed, no brews and blues, outdoors packet pick-up and shirt & medal given at packet pick-up.  We had all sorts of options including wave starts, and masks at all times until the start of each race, full PPE at the finish with limited crew, packaged food at the finish, and both self-serve and gloved, masked served aid stations.  We felt very comfortable with how we could regulate the participants.  However, the participants, volunteers, and communities have to come first with our decision for running the WhistleStop.  We work with the Town of Iron River, Town of Moquah, City of Ashland and both Ashland & Bayfield Counties along with the Tri-County Corridor Commission, so our footprint is quite large.  Our goal with WhistleStop has always been to run a well-organized event with large race amenities and an excellent, knowledgeable and energetic crew of volunteers and staff.   We could forge ahead with a wait and see attitude, but we feel compelled to say that we need to be safe rather than sorry and hope that within the next year, we will be at a comfort level much higher than we are at this time.  We all know COVID isn’t going anywhere and as we learn to live with it, we need to make sacrifices along the way. Cancelling the race and festivities is just another bump in the road, but at the end of the day, we feel a peace knowing that we are taking care of our people rather than our pocketbook.  Please buy bakery from our bake sales so we can stay open… Just kidding… we don’t bake. And Maribeth is laid off, so no bake sale for us!!

We have an awesome shirt and medal that is in the manufacturing stages and we will be all set for 2021!

We LOVE WhistleStop, LOVE our volunteers, runners, sponsors, and our communities. THANK YOU in advance for not beating me up too bad!

If you are registered for the race, we are offering these three options.  Below is a link allowing you to make your choice.  All athletes have until August 31, 2020 at Midnight to choose their option.  If you have not made your choice by this time, we will automatically move your registration into the deferral to 2021 option.

  1. Deferral of Registration to 2021 – Race date is October 9, 2021. (Note if you pre-purchased additional tickets for the Pasta Feed or for the Blues & Brews those amounts will be refunded to you when we process the refunds in September)
  2. 70% refund of your race registration fee (The registration stated a 50% refund would be given upon cancellation.  We know this has been extremely frustrating and difficult for runners and have made the choice to give a 70% refund, rather than 50% refund.  Unfortunately,  with the majority of planning and marketing already in place we have incurred costs for the race.  We know it’s not 100%, but it’s better than 50%, and the best we can offer. Thank you for your understanding)  Note if you pre-purchased additional tickets for the Pasta Feed or for the Blues & Brews those amounts will be refunded to you in full when we process the refunds in September.
  3. Donate your registration fee.
At one point, we considered a virtual event….  We feel that you are all “Virtualed-Out” and therefore we chose not to offer a virtual event.

Here is the link to make your race deferral or refund choice.  If you registered by mail please call (715-682-2500) or email our office (

Please contact our office if you have any questions via email at or by phone 715-682-2500.  We are working on a skeleton crew so if you call and we can’t answer the phone, please leave a message and we will  absolutely call you back!!

Thank you,
Mary McPhetridge, Executive Director Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce
Race Director, Memorial Medical Center WhistleStop Marathon & Half Marathon